Report – Between P&V

The Between Physical and Virtual event was a success and appears to have inspired those who attended. It started with the two demonstrations. The first was of a 3-D virtual world. It is impossible to adequately describe the amazing sensation that this evokes in those viewing it, especially with the facilities we were using that showed this on a large screen and allowed viewers to walk freely in front of it. Especially memorable was the feeling that objects being displayed were in front of other members of the audience. Those with red/green glasses can get some impression of this by viewing a sequence created by the presenter, Ian Upton, available on the Internet at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8gOaVJRGq0. The second demonstration by Joff Chafer, which included Joff’s avatar dancing on his laptop, showed how virtual and physical worlds could be merged, either by including physical objects, such as people, in virtual worlds or by including virtual objects in the physical world.

The second half of the event was a networking and discussion session. Particular themes of interest were identified collectively and then separate groups discussed these with everybody reconvening at the end to share ideas. Two themes in particular – the use of the technology for presentation, discussion and concept development and its use to convey “experience” – brought together a number of ideas and a summary of the discussions around these themes has been drawn up. In addition, developing the technology further, including bringing together the 3-D and merged reality aspects was generally seen as important. With regard to the general work of the Brain project, of particular interest was evaluating some of the methods used to facilitate the event. One technique used in this session perhaps we can claim as a “world’s first”. This displayed various phrases, including ones derived from the discussion itself, as objects in three dimensions ‘over’ the participants. Although only in an early stage of development, this technique promises to be very powerful. The discussion facilities set up to support the event aim to create tangible outputs including putting together a development project including one of the businesses involved.